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Monday
Jun292009

Researching Marchbanks Speedway

One of my loves is auto racing, and more specifically what is called open-wheel racing.

I've spent most of my life in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, and have visited a variety of dirt and paved tracks in the area, half of which no longer exist. 

Sadly, one I never saw was Marchbanks Speedway near Hanford, Calif. Even more sad is that little is known of what was once among California's pre-eminent tracks, hosting Champ Cars (think Indy) and the equivalent of NASCAR's Sprint Cup series.

The main track was a 1.3-1.4-mile oval, with two smaller ovals of varying sizes inside. The banking was as steep as 30 degrees in spots, which is nearly impossible to walk up. Racing was frequent in the 1950s and 1960s, but apparently died out in the early 1970s.

There are a few mentions on websites, including a short blip mentioning the NASCAR tie, and an informative community thread on Track Forum. There's a simple but interesting track diagram at The Racing Line and an entry documenting the death of James Stainton.

Wikipedia even has a bare-bones entry.

Mario Andretti in a Ford at "Hanford Motor Speedway" in 1967The only photo I've seen is one of Mario Andretti racing at "Hanford Motor Speedway" in 1967. Several sites list different locations for the track, but from what I can tell from satellite photos, evidence of the track is long gone.

But I'd love to see other photos, particularly shots of the track itself, as well as track down more detail. If you have any knowledge of the track, please feel free to share here or contact me through the Email Me link. I'll get back to you asap.

I'll start my own research and share it as I collect it.

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